October 13, 2013 (RUMBEK) - The assembly business committee (ABC) in the Lakes state parliament has asked speaker John Marik Makur to resign by Friday as pressure mounts for him to step down.
A group of 36 MPs recently declared a 14-day vow of silence against the speaker, accusing him of undermining the state’s constitution and instead acting in the personal interest of himself and the military caretaker governor.
On Friday, Makur called upon the 14 heads of the specialised parliamentary committees to frame the agenda for an upcoming assembly on business but many MPs refused and maintained their silent protest.
Makur, meanwhile, has stood firm, vowing to fight moves to force him to resign.
“I will not resign in this parliament, [the] president have given me mandate to continue as a speaker. I will not resign until [the] president dissolves this parliament”, he told MPs.
Marik Nanga Marik, who represents Rumbek North county, said Makur had grossly violated the state constitution, with his actions prompting the AC to call for his resignation.
Nanga said that the speaker had approved the governor’s recent cabinet reshuffle without it being voted on in parliament as provided for under article 111, sub article 2 of the state constitution, which states that each ministerial appointment must be approved by a majority of MPs.
“Our governor is not aware of laws, but [the] speaker is aware of them and he tells [the] governor to go ahead with [the] swearing [in] ceremony”, said Nanga.
Shadrack Bol Machok, an MP representing Wulu county, said lawmakers were “fed up” with the speaker who he accused of misleading the governor about the legality of swearing in his cabinet without the parliament’s authorisation.”
MPs have also accused Makur of financial malpractice.
Taban Abil Aguek, who represents Awerial county, confirmed that the leadership of the Lakes state legislative assembly asked Makur to resign.
“This came up in a meeting called by the speaker to formulate the agenda for next week. But the members of [the] leadership asked the speaker how it was possible to formulate an agenda when almost the entire assembly decided not to listen to him any longer”, said Abil.
“Last week, the members have been on a silent protest against the speaker. The members attended sittings and allowed the speaker to talk alone and no single voice contributed. The speaker then adjourned the sitting when the assembly just went quiet for more than 45 minutes”, he added.
The state assembly leadership members said they walked out of the meeting when the speaker’s conduct became reckless and abusive, with Makur alleged to have insulted female MPs.